The Catalina 36 Mk1 Sailboat

The Catalina 36 Mk1, a masthead cruising sloop, was designed by Frank Butler and built in the USA by Catalina Yachts.

Published Specification for the Catalina 36 Mk1

Underwater Profile: Fin keel with spade rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 36'4" (11.1m)

Waterline Length: 30'3" (9.2m)

Beam: 11'11" (3.6m)

Draft: 5'10" (1.8m)

Rig Type: Masthead Sloop

Displacement: 13,500 lb (6,123 kg)

Designer: Frank Butler

Builder: Catalina Yachts (USA)


Published Design Ratios for the Catalina 36 Mk1

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 15.4

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 44.4

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over40: stiffer, more powerful

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 218

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

4. Comfort Ratio: 24.0

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 2.0

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

read more about these all-revealing numbers...


Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Catalina 36 Mk1

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of just 15.4 suggests that the Catalina 36 Mk1 will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 44.4 means that the Catalina 36 Mk1 will stand up well to her canvas in a blow, helping her to power through the waves.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 218, tells us the Catalina 36 Mk1 is a moderate displacement cruiser, which means she'll carry all your cruising gear without it having a dramatic effect on her performance. Most of today's sailboats intended for offshore cruising fall into this displacement category.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 24.0 suggests that crew comfort of a Catalina 36 Mk1 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a coastal cruiser with moderate stability, which is not encouraging news for anyone prone to seasickness. 

5. The Capsize Screening Formula of 2.0 tells us that a Catalina 36 Mk1 would not be a good choice of sailboat for ocean passage-making, owing to the increased risk of capsize in strong winds and heavy seas when compared to a sailboat with a CSF of less than 2.0.

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